05 Oct The Charm of Cairo
Patricia A. explores what Cairo has to offer during her incredible tour in the largest metropolitan city in the Middle East and the Arab world.
What comes to your mind when you hear ‘Cairo’?
Pyramids? Sphinx? Nile or Belly Dance? Cairo is much more than that. As I toured this charming city, I found out that it is a city full of life, traditions, gastronomy and culture. Away from the usual tourist spots and urban places, I gauged into the soul of the city where the Egyptians live the essence of life.
I was amazed by the energy and dynamism of the city the first time I visited Cairo. The vibrant streets, the smile of people, the traditions – they made me fall in love with the place so easily.
It started while I was strolling in the city. I stopped at the beautifully designed mosques dwelling in the neighborhood along with the Coptic churches. I found out that Christians and Muslims used to live together in this area. Like a sleeping snake, the Nile River rests calmly among the neighboring houses. You could take the ‘Faluka’ and flow on the slow movement of the water, enjoying the stunning landscape of both side of the banks while listening to the legendary songs of Umm Kulthuum.
Meeting the friendly locals, shopping at the Khan al Khalili, having tea at Al Fishawi cafe – I felt the warmth of the people. The sweet scent of shisha together with the sound of the bubbles, the dice jumping on the ‘Tawla’ (backgammon) ear made me forget the time. I wanted to stay forever and live there like in that famous tale of 1001 nights.
Egyptians are warm, genuine, and easy going people. There’s magic in the way they draw a smile on your face during your stay. They make you feel that you belong, making you think twice before you leave.
It’s simple: open your heart and soul to this magnificent city, feel the rhythm of the life, embrace the hospitality and generosity of the locals, immerse in the society and learn their traditions and values… then you will feel the life.
Some Fun Facts about Cairo:
- Cairo is the largest city in the Arab world. More than a quarter of all Egyptians live in Cairo.
- It is the only city in Egypt with daily newspapers. The oldest and best known is Al-Ahram, founded in 1876 in Alexandria.
- Soccer is Cairo’s most popular sport with a team that competes internationally.
- In Cairo, primary education is free and compulsory and university tuition has been free since 1962.
- Cairo’s cultural and historical treasures are rich as evidently seen at its different museums. The Egyptian Museum at Maydan Tahrir houses the city’s premier collection of over 100,000 artifacts from nearly every period of Egyptian history.
- In Cairo, Khan al-Khalili Bazaar, a large open-air market situated against medieval ruins, is the most famous shopping venue.Know the Arab culture more by learning how to speak the language. Learn Arabic at your own pace anytime, anywhere. Start here.